Online Success is a Marathon
You've all heard the statement — “race to the bottom,” right? Basically, what that statement describes is when businesses try to outdo each other. Primarily, but not all the time, by lowering their pricing as compared to their competitors.
But does a low price necessarily indicate quality? Of course not! Even so, that doesn't stop the race to the bottom in an attempt to gain market share. Or, in some cases, the desire for temporary attention.
What inspired the idea for this post was an article by Seth Godin, which contained the quote below…
“There’s no cost, zero, for yet another hustler to bring yet another unknown logo and brand name to the site, to try to manipulate ratings, to sell junk. If they get caught, they can just try again. It’s a race to the bottom.”Seth Godin
Read his post: Managing reputation in the age of infinity and come back. It's worth it — I'll wait. (While you are there, subscribe to his daily tips — talk about inspirational.)
The lower one can go seems to be an actual strategy nowadays. One that I've never played into. Nor should you, no matter how tempting it may be. So instead, I advocate that you do the opposite and race to the top!
How do you race to the top?
By having that right attitude.
Your Attitude, not your aptitude will determine your altitude.Zig Zigler
By not lowering your standards, cutting corners, and doing the hard work others are unwilling to do. Yes, it may be enticing to take the easy road, ignore reality or take paths that you feel you may have no choice.
You always have a choice.
Of course, this advice does not pertain to those offering a commodity item where prices are pretty much set. (But if you are, I would still try and find a way to add value = higher pricing.)
Your product or service should be worth what you are asking. Do not reduce your pricing or offer ridiculous sales just because everyone else is. In the long run, all you are doing is devaluing what you have to offer.
Business is about making money and a profit. Nothing to be ashamed about or feel that you need to compete with those who will do anything to make a sale — today. A sale today that may not contribute to the reputation that needs to be built for the future.
Part of Seth's article made the point that online has made it easier for a race to the bottom with a cause and effect in the marketplace. That is true and out of your control. What you can control is how you operate, knowing this.
I've watched this race to the bottom in my little world forever. First, there is always someone willing to undersell their skills (or lack thereof). Then add the freelancing sites that make my pricing look gold plated.
But I'm worth every penny because you always get more than you pay for. “At your service” is my personal brand that I back up with every email, video-con, phone call, and piece of advice. I do not compromise, discount, or barter on what I can bring to a project.
The problem with competition is that it takes away the requirement to set your own path, to invent your own method, to find a new way.
Don't be a Lemming
I didn't get to where I am today by being a follower or doing what other “gurus” said I must. Yes, reading and following those that are well-respected is part of the learning process. But not every bit or byte of advice is going to apply to you and your program. Or your vision.
Having confidence and honestly knowing yourself allows you to discern the difference. So how did I do that? I got into the trenches and read, learned, tested and tuned, spent, failed, got frustrated, picked myself up and tried again, and again, and again… That takes guts—no guts; no glory.
Some make decisions on price alone. I never have when it comes to my business. Being realistic about your skill-set and what you are willing to learn and apply is critical. Do what you know well — not think you know — know you do well. Aggressively seek out assistance for the rest.
Real World Advice…
Here's a bit of reality-based advice that you should consider and apply when it comes to running an online business.
- Make sure your website reflects the level of quality and professionalism that you want your product or service to be known for. You cannot cut corners here. Learn what you need to or hire someone who can help you. Any indications of home-brewed or amateur efforts compromise your price point and reputation.
- Review your processes and procedures quarterly. Where can you improve? Never say everything is fine because we can always improve. Always. Find ways to offer the best service or products without compromising quality and customer satisfaction.
- Spend money where needed to be the best in all things online. Being able to DIY is part of the allure of having an online business. I get that. But a DIY perception never lends to creating a serious brand.
- Determine ways to differentiate yourself from those racing to the bottom. You don't want to be a “me too.” Whether it be personalized support or personalized products, they need to be backed up with a unique selling proposition. You need to use every arrow available in your quiver to stand out.
- Know that settling for less with excuses that it is all you can afford, or that's the best I got — is never going to be enough to succeed online. Never.
If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.Anon
Online Success is Elusive & Difficult
And I've said before — be you. If everything is equal, there is the only one you and you must be prepared to energetically use yourself to your advantage. By not doing so, you are, in essence, nothing special; just another (fill in the blanks), just like all the rest. Not something that will stand out and be noticed.
By choosing to race to the top, your success will be on your terms. Not those who may not have the vision, work ethic, or dedication as you do. Those who race to the bottom tend to be here today and gone tomorrow. Race to the top, and you give your business the best chance for longevity and prosperity.
At your service,